Arisen Worlds in Discordant Entanglement — Hell, Earth, Heaven

Myra and co.’s journey of the past two weeks has been quite the wild ride!

(Spoiler alerts follow). We started with Myra losing a good portion of her memory by drinking a magical potion — The Memory Draught — for a cause she now knows little about. Her only information regarding her mission is that it involves breaking her into Hell for some greater purpose through the Hell Gate as golden toilet bathroom used daily by the sinfully prideful Ivan Volkov. Her capable mage parents then whisk her off — slipping her into Furze Bank HQ. It’s a corrupt financial institution heavily involved in funding Hell-on-Earth fossil fuels and one crawling with demonic influence. They’re aiming to get Myra through the Hell Gate that Ivan Volkov unwittingly opened. After Myra slips through the Gate and arrives in Hell, her mage parents — Beatrice Lushael and Robert Mori — are left to deal with three nasty Pride Eater demons and Ivan himself. Ivan is possessed by a Pride Eater and forced to transform into a demon hybrid wolf. But Beatrice and Mori manage to exorcise the demon and escape from Furze Bank with the hapless and semi-rescued Ivan in tow. (End of spoiler alerts).

Modern Climate Fantasy

Myra’s journey takes place in what I’m calling a modern climate fantasy. Modern, because the action occurs at a place and in a time very similar to that of the real world. Climate, because the larger series uses the issue of climate crisis as a fulcrum for both world definition and the nature of how conflict, crisis, and resolution occurs through the story’s arc. It could well be said that the Arisen Worlds exist in the climate of climate crisis. With that particular world-destroying and crisis enhancing force acting as a moral theme upon which the story pivots. This is not at all foreign to fantasy — which often grapples with forces that threaten existence in various ways. Though this particular revelation of climate crisis as a malign force fueled by villainous acts may well be rather unique.

The Earth of Myra Helkey suffers from the early stages of climate crisis, much like our own. It suffers from the corruption of businesses and some political structures by bad actors, much like our own. It has experienced the disruption of emerging infectious illness, some driven and others enhanced by climate crisis, much like our own world. Of course, there are key differences. One is that the situations — climate and geopolitical — are somewhat advanced on Myra’s Earth. It’s a world perhaps 5 years further on than ours and probably in a worse way than we will hopefully be by that time. It’s also a place that includes magic in the form of curses used by mages. And it is here that we encounter a pretty clear distinction between the Arisen Worlds Earth and the real Earth of the present day.

Mages Who Form Connections Between Worlds

Mages are a rather small subset of the population on Arisen Worlds Earth. But they are of extraordinary importance to the story. Myra’s immediate family members are all mages. Moreover, these mages operate in an underground network throughout the Arisen Worlds setting. This becomes more of a theme as the story progresses. But you can already get a sense of associations and connections with mages in the story’s early phase. As a connective element, the most important aspect of a mage’s original magic is a special kind of wisp or soul that is able to channel spiritual energy from the multiverse itself. This is their special ability. One they can be born with or one they can awaken to through a lifetime. There is much thought and philosophy among mages about the universality vs the specificity of magical talent. Some believe it is in-born. Others believe that it arises from learning and experience and that all wisps are capable of making the magical connections that a mage wisp forms. But most pivotal to the Arisen Worlds is the fact that mage wisps can connect to spiritual energy from other worlds. And the two other worlds in close enough alignment to Earth in the multiverse to lend such energy consistently are Heaven and Hell. So mages serve as the main element in human society linking Heaven and Hell to Earth and are active in deciding the future path of each world.

Hell — A Ruined World Cynically Reliant on Exploitation for Survival

So, in the context of Myra’s story, what is Heaven and what is Hell? To be clear, though Judeo-Christian themes play a role in the fantastical conception of Heaven and Hell in the Helkey setting, these worlds are actual living (or dying) planets with host life and civilizations. As very basic concepts, each is a world that has endured its own existential crisis and dealt with it in an entirely different way.

Hell, for example, chose the path of authoritarianism, greed, murder, hate, and exploitation. It not only ignored its own climate crisis, it nihilistically reveled in it. As a result, Hell is a ruined world shades worse than Permian extinction period Earth filled with the corrupt, the murderous, the foul, and the vile. It’s hot, toxic, and you mostly can’t trust anyone. Hell has its own original life and inhabitants. These are the devils. But they are life native to the world of Hell as well. Individually, not every devil is morally terrible. But the circumstances of the world of Hell make it difficult if not impossible to achieve high moral standards. This involves the inherent nature of Hell — one of shared crimes and depravity which are cynically seen as the only way to survive. The dire nature of Hell’s world lends itself to these cynical assumptions — which are fed by its autocratic tyrant Asmodeus.

Hell as depicted in the Arisen Worlds multiverse and its super-continent Minos. This basic rendering of Hell is the larger setting for Myra’s future adventures. Notice that this — many shades darker than Earth — world features a convergence of multiple continents into a supercontinent and has a toxic green-purple world ocean locked in a Canfield type state (some of its waters burn). This world map is my original rendering using artistic design software. As Myra continues her adventures in Hell, I’ll provide regional maps for her travels that include more detail. Her first series of adventures occurs in Infernia which is located near the center-east portion of the land mass. Mori and Beatrice’s parallel adventures occur on Earth and, possibly, in Heaven. New maps will be made as they’re needed.

Hell could not exist as a world unless it had some outside resource to prey upon. This outside resource is the soul or wisp. Since before its fall into ruin, Hell was a magnet for the more vicious and harmful spirits of dead human beings. And in ancient times these wisps were governed in Hell by fairer rules. Rules that allowed the wisps to become a part of Hell’s more difficult life but, after ages of learning and reform, were permitted to return to Earth. This system was corrupted by Asmodeus into a form of wanton exploitation and enslavement of wisps for the power they contained. For Asmodeus was the first to learn how to enslave and harness wisps to gain personal power. This original hellish ‘innovation’ allowed Asmodeus to conquer Hell and to place himself as its ruler. Asmodeus’s exploitative ‘advancements’ extended to the world’s resources. And Hell was rich in fossil fuels. Combining wisps with Blood of Earth fuels gave more power to Asmodeus’s fearsome engines and war machines. Millions of souls burned in Hell’s combustion engines which drove Hell’s environment to its present vicious state. Now, Hell is reliant on wisps from Earth for life support machines, environmental control, and enhancements to physical resilience. And it needs more wisps every year. So the design of Hell is to ensnare more wisps by encouraging harmful activities on Earth, which would make Earth more like Hell in the end.

Heaven — A World that Survived Catastrophe to Form a Great Society

In direct opposition to Hell is the realized world of Heaven which contains multiple living worlds orbiting an Orange Dwarf Star. Like Hell, Heaven, which was called by another name at the time, experienced its own terrible existential crisis. This occurred as a series of gamma ray burst events coming from the center of Heaven’s galaxy. At the culmination of this thousands years long series of events, one of the world’s more powerful and far less benevolent beings ignited a mountain of oil that formed a kind of fossil fuel caldera on Heaven’s home world. The combination of periodic blotting out of Heaven’s sun due to cosmic dust excited by the gamma ray burst and increased greenhouse gasses from the burning caldera resulted in terrible swings between hot and cold.

The opposite to Hell in cosmic polarity, Heaven attracted the wisps of the benevolent deceased of Earth. These became reincarnated as various living creatures in Heaven. Many arose from the life-giving and creative magic of dreams — that connects all of Heaven’s creatures — as selfless heroes who directly confronted the crises faced by Heaven. They joined with Heaven’s natives, who were already more closely and powerfully tied to the natural world and held life as sacred, in various great works and adventures to shore up the life supports of Heaven. To strengthen life and to create technologies and magics that worked to make life more vital and beneficially cooperative. In this way, Heaven overcame its difficulties to become a much stronger multi-planet worlds system capable of resisting even the worst forms of catastrophe.

Like Hell, Heaven is not without its internal oppositional forces. Some of these come from heaven’s populace who’ve grown jaded, cynical, greedy, or selfish. These rise as villains but are quickly countered by the many responsible folk — the angels — living in Heaven. Others come from the Outer Darkness — demons attracted to Heaven’s bounty and seeming innocence. Unlike Hell, human wisps are given form and place in heaven naturally and without prejudice. They are not distinguished from native angels. The society of Heaven is democratic and one in which power is shared and gained by merit. There are great beings who earn respect and renown, but there is no centralized ruling force. Heaven instead is the source of a variety of vital ideas and benevolent innovations. Heaven’s religion is one in which Love resulted in the formation of the multiverse and they have a myth of a creation deity that is three in one — mother creation that is all things, the father creative force that inspires new life, growth, change and progress, and the invisible spirit or ghost that connects all things. Lethal disease has been defeated in Heaven. The lives of its inhabitants are immortal, only passing their wisps into the multiverse if they choose to. The world of Heaven is itself a vital riot of life and living things. A beautiful bounty in harmonious, yet still growing, balance with itself.

The Earth in Discordant Entanglement with two Arisen Worlds

As Hell seeks to prey on Earth and draw it into its destructive influence, Heaven seeks to enlighten, enable, liberate and advance it. Heaven is grateful to the wisps that came to its world from Earth and gave aid. Heaven wishes to return the favor. It sends angels to Earth to try to help it find a way out of trouble and conflict. It forms alliances with mages to fight against demonic and diabolical influence. As a result, the forces of Heaven and Hell come into conflict on the battleground of Earth. As there can be no compromise with the zero-sum attempts at conquest and exploitation coming from Hell, this results in discordant entanglement. Discordant — because there can be no harmony with the zero-compromise forces of Hell. Entanglement — because the future destination of Earth is tied up in the destination of the cosmic polar opposites of Heaven and Hell. Arisen Worlds — because Heaven and Hell have both passed their crisis points to reach their future pathways. Hell toward ruin and Heaven toward the celestial civilization.

(For more information on the Arisen Worlds of the Helkey series check out Helkey Lore.)

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